IELTS Academic Reading Practice 6

 
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This reading practice simulates one part of the IELTS Academic Reading test. You should spend about twenty minutes on it. Read the passage and answer questions 27-40.

Questions 27-33

Look at the following Opinions (Questions 27-33) and List of people below.

Match each opinion with the correct person.

Write the correct number A-E in boxes Questions 27-33 on your answer sheet.

NB You may use any letter more than once.

List of people
  1. Dr. Broca
  2. Dr. Brinkman
  3. Geschwind and Galaburda
  4. Charles Moore
  5. Professor Turner

27. Speech development is dependent on which hand the speaker mostly uses
28. Monkeys’ brains are similar to the brains of human beings, even though they do not have a capability for language
29. Human beings departmentalize their thinking
30. We unconsciously prefer things on the right and tend to mistrust things on the left
31. During pregnancy an unborn male child’s brain develops more slowly than a female child’s
32. People who lost their speech following a stroke, generally experienced paralysis in the right-hand side of their bodies
33. The two sides of the brain develop different functions before birth.
Questions 34-40

Do the following statements agree with the information given in the reading passage? In boxes 34-40 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE   if the statement agrees with the information
FALSE   if the statement contradicts the information
NOT GIVEN   if there is no information on this

34. After a stroke, left-handed people recover their speech more quickly than right-handed people.
35. Human beings started to show a preference for left-handedness when they first developed  language.
36. A study of macaque monkeys has shown that monkey brains are asymmetric
37. Monkeys show a species specific preference for left or right-handedness.
38. There may be a relationship between speech and dominant handed preference.
39. Male brains mature later than females, and the right hemisphere matures later than the left.
40. Left-handed people will often develop a stammer

Answer Sheet
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
N/A
16
N/A
17
N/A
18
N/A
19
N/A
20
N/A
21
N/A
22
N/A
23
N/A
24
N/A
25
N/A
26
N/A
27
N/A
28
N/A
29
N/A
30
N/A
31
N/A
32
N/A
33
N/A
34
N/A
35
N/A
36
N/A
37
N/A
38
N/A
39
N/A
40
N/A


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Human Right/Left Hand Dominance

Research suggests that humans aren’t the only members of several species in the animal kingdom which exhibit handedness, meaning the preference for one hand over the other. Handedness is related to lateral asymmetry, which refers to physical and functional aspects between sides of the brain. It appears that nine out of ten humans throughout history have preferred to use their right hand, and that eight of ten were right foot dominant. Australian professor Bryan Turner at Deakin University has concluded that handedness is a part of overall sidedness through his research on left handedness. Turner believes that noted that there is something methodical about this distinctive asymmetry found exclusively in humans. He says “Humans think in categories: black and white, up and down, left and right. It’s a system of signs that enable us to categorize phenomena that are essentially ambiguous,” when describing lateral asymmetry.

A genetic link, or some kind of inherited trait, has been also attributed to hand preference, though there is no guarantee that a right or left handed person’s child will have the same hand preference. On the other hand, left-handedness does tend to run in families. In fact, around 6 percent of children whose  parents are both right hand dominant will end up left-handed. Meanwhile, among children with two left-handed parents, up to 40 percent grow up left-handed, too. The occurrence of left-handed children with one left-handed and one right-handed parent typically ranges from about 15 to 20 percent. Amazingly enough,one in six pairs of identical twins will differ in their handed preference in spite of having the same genes.

If hand preference goes beyond genetics alone, there must be other unknown variables at play. To learn more, researchers have closely studied the brain in regards to this subject. French surgeon and anthropologist, Dr. Paul Broca, found that patients in the 1860’s who had lost the ability to speak due to a stroke (a blood clot in the brain) would also become paralyzed on the right side of their body. From this, Broca realized that because the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right half of the body and vice versa, the brain damage must have been in the brain’s left hemisphere. Psychologists have theorized that 95 percent of right-handed people’s language centers are in the left hemisphere of their brains, while 5 percent have language centers on the right side. Surprisingly enough, left-handed people do not show the exact reverse of this, and instead, a majority have their language center located in the left hemisphere, with some 30 percent in the right hemisphere.

At the Australian National University in Canberra, Dr. Brinkman has suggested that human speech evolved alongside a preference for the right hand. From her research, Brinkman believes that one side of the brain became specialized for fine motor skills, which are necessary for speech and as the brain continued to evolve for speech, the right-hand preference emerged. According to Brinkman, the majority of left-handed people exhibit left hemisphere dominance with some capacity in the right hemisphere as well. Dr. Brinkman has observed that a left-handed person with brain-damage to the left hemisphere is often able to recover speech ability more effectively. She thinks this phenomenon can be explained by left-handed people’s tendency towards bilateral speech function.

Dr. Brinkman research has expanded her research into primates as well. In her studies of macaque monkeys, she found that the year-old babies appeared to learn either hand preference from their mothers. In humans, on the other hand, specialization of the two hemispheres’ functions actually creates physical differences in the anatomy of the brain, with areas associated with speech production often being larger on the left side than on the right. Because monkeys and apes do not have the ability of speech, one would not expect to see such a variation in these animals. However, Brinkman believes that she has discovered a trend in monkeys’ brains which suggests the same asymmetry seen in human brains.

American researchers, Geschwind and Galaburda’s research on human embryos led to the discovery that a left-right asymmetry is evident before birth. However, there are many other variables which can affect brain development along the way. Initially, all brains begin as female, becoming male brains if the male fetus secretes hormones. Geschwind and Galaburda were aware of the way that the sides of the brain mature at different rates; the right hemisphere develops first, then the left. Moreover, a female brain develops slightly more quickly than a male brain. During a fetal brain’s development, a male brain is more likely to be affected, and the left hemisphere is also more likely to be affected. The brain may lose some lateralization, resulting in left-handedness as well as a tendency towards skills which are typically associated with the left brain hemisphere, such as logic, rationality, and abstraction. It is possible that this explanation captures why professionals such as mathematicians and architects tend to be left-handed more often, as well as a higher occurrence of left-handed males than females.

These results may be of comfort to those left-handed people who have been traditionally marginalized or berated by society for centuries. Mr. Charles Moore, a writer, and journalist, believes that even the word “right” upholds unfounded beliefs on the use of one hand being considered preferable to the other. Moore claims that our language subliminally reinforces this notion that the right side is good, while the left is potentially dangerous. In fact, the Latin word “sinister” actually means “left.” According to Moore, “it is no coincidence that left-handed children, forced to use their right hand, often develop a stammer as they are robbed of their freedom of speech.”  However, as more research is undertaken on the causes of left-handedness, attitudes towards left-handed people are gradually changing for the better. Indeed when the champion tennis player Ivan Lendl was asked what the single thing was that he would choose in order to improve his game, he said he would like to become left-handed.

Reading Passage Vocabulary
Human Right/Left Hand Dominance

Research suggests that humans aren’t the only members of several species in the animal kingdom which exhibit handedness, meaning the preference for one hand over the other. Handedness is related to lateral asymmetry, which refers to physical and functional aspects between sides of the brain. It appears that nine out of ten humans throughout history have preferred to use their right hand, and that eight of ten were right foot dominant. Australian professor Bryan Turner at Deakin University has concluded that handedness is a part of overall sidedness through his research on left handedness. Turner believes that noted that there is something methodical about this distinctive asymmetry found exclusively in humans. He says “Humans think in categories: black and white, up and down, left and right. It’s a system of signs that enable us to categorize phenomena that are essentially ambiguous,” when describing lateral asymmetry.

A genetic link, or some kind of inherited trait, has been also attributed to hand preference, though there is no guarantee that a right or left handed person’s child will have the same hand preference. On the other hand, left-handedness does tend to run in families. In fact, around 6 percent of children whose  parents are both right hand dominant will end up left-handed. Meanwhile, among children with two left-handed parents, up to 40 percent grow up left-handed, too. The occurrence of left-handed children with one left-handed and one right-handed parent typically ranges from about 15 to 20 percent. Amazingly enough,one in six pairs of identical twins will differ in their handed preference in spite of having the same genes.

If hand preference goes beyond genetics alone, there must be other unknown variables at play. To learn more, researchers have closely studied the brain in regards to this subject. French surgeon and anthropologist, Dr. Paul Broca, found that patients in the 1860’s who had lost the ability to speak due to a stroke (a blood clot in the brain) would also become paralyzed on the right side of their body. From this, Broca realized that because the left hemisphere of the brain controls the right half of the body and vice versa, the brain damage must have been in the brain’s left hemisphere. Psychologists have theorized that 95 percent of right-handed people’s language centers are in the left hemisphere of their brains, while 5 percent have language centers on the right side. Surprisingly enough, left-handed people do not show the exact reverse of this, and instead, a majority have their language center located in the left hemisphere, with some 30 percent in the right hemisphere.

At the Australian National University in Canberra, Dr. Brinkman has suggested that human speech evolved alongside a preference for the right hand. From her research, Brinkman believes that one side of the brain became specialized for fine motor skills, which are necessary for speech and as the brain continued to evolve for speech, the right-hand preference emerged. According to Brinkman, the majority of left-handed people exhibit left hemisphere dominance with some capacity in the right hemisphere as well. Dr. Brinkman has observed that a left-handed person with brain-damage to the left hemisphere is often able to recover speech ability more effectively. She thinks this phenomenon can be explained by left-handed people’s tendency towards bilateral speech function.

Dr. Brinkman research has expanded her research into primates as well. In her studies of macaque monkeys, she found that the year-old babies appeared to learn either hand preference from their mothers. In humans, on the other hand, specialization of the two hemispheres’ functions actually creates physical differences in the anatomy of the brain, with areas associated with speech production often being larger on the left side than on the right. Because monkeys and apes do not have the ability of speech, one would not expect to see such a variation in these animals. However, Brinkman believes that she has discovered a trend in monkeys’ brains which suggests the same asymmetry seen in human brains.

American researchers, Geschwind and Galaburda’s research on human embryos led to the discovery that a left-right asymmetry is evident before birth. However, there are many other variables which can affect brain development along the way. Initially, all brains begin as female, becoming male brains if the male fetus secretes hormones. Geschwind and Galaburda were aware of the way that the sides of the brain mature at different rates; the right hemisphere develops first, then the left. Moreover, a female brain develops slightly more quickly than a male brain. During a fetal brain’s development, a male brain is more likely to be affected, and the left hemisphere is also more likely to be affected. The brain may lose some lateralization, resulting in left-handedness as well as a tendency towards skills which are typically associated with the left brain hemisphere, such as logic, rationality, and abstraction. It is possible that this explanation captures why professionals such as mathematicians and architects tend to be left-handed more often, as well as a higher occurrence of left-handed males than females.

These results may be of comfort to those left-handed people who have been traditionally marginalized or berated by society for centuries. Mr. Charles Moore, a writer, and journalist, believes that even the word “right” upholds unfounded beliefs on the use of one hand being considered preferable to the other. Moore claims that our language subliminally reinforces this notion that the right side is good, while the left is potentially dangerous. In fact, the Latin word “sinister” actually means “left.” According to Moore, “it is no coincidence that left-handed children, forced to use their right hand, often develop a stammer as they are robbed of their freedom of speech.”  However, as more research is undertaken on the causes of left-handedness, attitudes towards left-handed people are gradually changing for the better. Indeed when the champion tennis player Ivan Lendl was asked what the single thing was that he would choose in order to improve his game, he said he would like to become left-handed.

 
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